Energy gives very little reverence to man-made borders between states and countries. Energy of all types is often produced far distances from where it will finally be used in our homes and businesses. A quick look at energy infrastructure shows just how interconnected energy has made the world.
The Women’s Energy Network (WEN) was created to give women across the country a unique space to connect with others in the energy industry and promote their career advancement. Many of our members have relocated within the United States or overseas on various projects to learn new skill sets and progress in their company.
Over the last two decades, WEN has grown in both the number of active members and the number of chapters across the country providing networking and relationship-building to women across the energy supply chain with various levels of professional experience. There continues to be interest to start new local chapters, and recently there has been a call to expand our vision to include other countries.
In April we announced the formation of our 14th, and first international, chapter: WEN México. This chapter will be led by the dynamic Maria Luisa Licón, who will help connect women in the industry not just in Mexico, but also to our other chapters in the U.S. As she wrote in her welcome letter, “The WEN México chapter represents a milestone in this organization’s history demonstrating that no borders exist when it comes to women uniting for a specific purpose. This chapter is open to members from different backgrounds, from the public and private sectors, and from a broad spectrum of areas of the energy industry, including oil and gas, power, renewable energies [and] mining, among others.” We are truly excited to welcome the WEN México chapter and to be adding this group of women to our organization during such a pivotal time.
The United States and Mexico share a very close relationship when it comes to energy — as does Canada, for that matter — which is helped by the close proximity of our countries with minimal barriers, such as oceans, between us. An emerging story in the energy industry is just how much this relationship may change. According to an August report by S&P Global Platts, more than 50 percent of Mexico’s energy imports come from the U.S. The report states that natural gas imports from the U.S. total nearly 60 percent of the total Mexican natural gas supply and estimates that number could reach 70 percent by 2022.
It is important to note that this increase in imports from the U.S. has not happened automatically or without any other restructuring. The S&P Global Platts report shows that the Mexican pipeline import capacity has increased 145 percent over the last seven years to meet these import demands. Much of the imported natural gas is used to generate electricity for the country, and these changes in capacity and generation have resulted in a domino effect creating projects and jobs across the country — all related to natural gas imports from the U.S.
As Mexico continues to overhaul its energy strategy, which includes a five-year plan designed to introduce competition into the country’s natural gas market, businesses will continue to look for opportunities throughout the transition period and beyond. We should expect to see increasing focus on our neighbors to the south, which will naturally lead to more discussions of managing the talent in these organizations.
Where are our future energy industry professionals coming from? Are they aware of the wide variety of careers they can choose from? How are we connecting professionals in the U.S. and Mexico to share insights and experiences? These are just some of the questions we can help address in coordination with industry professionals in Mexico to make sure we are positioning our companies and ourselves to maximize opportunities as they arise, while also focusing on long-term development of talent.
It sometimes seems like the only constant in the energy industry is change. All of us at WEN stand ready to address these changes as we move together toward the future.
For more information about WEN, visit www.womensenergynetwork.org.